I&W Cyber and Otherwise

Joe Mazzafro

Last month when we gathered around the browser, I was expressing my concerns about a “guns of October” scenario emerging in the Middle East and assuring you that I did not believe the attack in Benghazi on September 11 represented an intelligence failure.  Within days of posting, the conflict in Syria expanded to Turkey retaliating with cross border fire against Assad’s government forces.  Then on September 28th the DNI issued a statement clarifying that subsequent intelligence showed the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was not a spontaneous reaction to the YouTube “Innocence of Muslims” film trailer but rather it was a planned terrorist attack meant to kill Americans and embarrass the United States (  As I started to write this edition, Secretary of Defense Panetta spoke at Business Executives for National Security (BENS) dinner on October 11th aboard the INTREPID Museum in New York City laying out the cyber threat to national security and how DoD is preparing to deal with it (

DRS and SELEX to Provide Internal Communications System for Canadian Navy

October 16, 2012
George I. Seffers
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DRS Technologies Canada and SELEX Elsag, both of which are Finmeccanica companies, were recently awarded a contract worth approximately $11 million Canadian dollars ($11.2 million, U.S.) by the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada for the upgrading of the Canadian Navy’s HALIFAX Class Frigate Internal Communications System (ICS). The System will be based on Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology. Delivery of the equipment is expected to begin in 2013 and to be completed by the middle of 2015. All communications within the ship and external voice communications are controlled through a SHipboard INtegrated COMmunications System (SHINCOM); as part of SHINCOM, ICS includes internal wireless communications technology that facilitates non-wired communications between damage control teams, flight deck crews and 50-caliber gun teams during mission-critical operations. Additional applications include supporting non-mission critical operations and conducting maintenance activities where wireless communications among maintainers are required.

Transportation Security Agency Purchases Personal Screening System

October 16, 2012
George I. Seffers
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American Science and Engineering Incorporated, Ballerica, Mass., recently announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) awarded the company an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with a ceiling value of $245 million for its SmartCheck Personnel Screening System with next generation advanced imaging technology. The IDIQ contract also includes service, maintenance, and training for the SmartCheck systems. As part of this contract, AS&E received its first delivery order for three SmartCheck systems to be tested at TSA facilities. The system was designed to detect concealed threats such as metallic and non-metallic weapons, explosives, and other prohibited items. The SmartCheck system includes the Automated Target Recognition (ATR) capability, which reduces privacy concerns and decreases passenger processing time by displaying only a generic figure with potential threat areas highlighted. In addition, the reduced size of the SmartCheck system is suited for smaller checkpoint configurations.

QinetiQ to Provide Talon Robots to Poland

October 16, 2012
George I. Seffers
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QinetiQ North America Incorporated, Waltham, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $6,802,527 firm-fixed-price contract for Talon Generation IV robot vehicles, spares and accessories, depot level repair parts, shipping and training. Work will be performed in Waltham and Poland and is expected to complete by March 2013. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Cool App-titude: MightyText

October 16, 2012
By Rachel Eisenhower

Forgot your phone at home? You can still send texts and see who calls you with instant notifications on your computer screen. The free MightyText app for Android lets you send and receive SMS text messages from your computer or tablet using your phone number.

The program forwards text messages over the phone’s data connection to the MightyText servers. A browser extension then produces the message on the computer or tablet screen. Then, you simply type a reply into your browser and select a contact from your list, and the app sends it in real time. The goal is for the messages to stay fully in sync with your phone’s SMS.

MightyText is free, and it does not add any additional fees to what your carrier charges you. However, the messages route through the phone, so standard SMS fees from your carrier still apply.

Currently, the app has more than 11,000 reviews in Google Play for an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Download it here.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new websites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

Standing Down the Joint Tactical Radio System Office

October 12, 2012

With the close of the fiscal year, the U.S. Department of Defense has officially shuttered the Joint Program Executive Office for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS). In its place, the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC), which opened on October 1, will now oversee the development of the Software Defined Radio (SDR) program, including waveforms and network management.

JTNC will build upon work already done to create a system capable of transmitting both voice and data over a secure radio communications network. Testing of new systems will continue to be performed by the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), the Navy’s SPAWAR systems center Pacific and other existing military facilities.

Cool App-titude: Passbook

October 9, 2012
Rachel Eisenhower

Lighten up your wallet or key ring with the new Passbook app for iOS, which allows users to store coupons, loyalty cards, movie tickets, boarding passes and more.

Passbook acts as a virtual wallet, storing important information, such as tickets and gift cards, and translating it into scannable cards or tickets in the app.

You can add “passes” to Passbook through apps, emails and websites from participating companies. So far, businesses such as Gap, Target, Walgreens, Sephora, Starbucks and Fandango have signed on to use Passbook, and the list is growing. Simply scan your iPhone or iPod Touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie and redeem a coupon.

The app comes pre-installed on the iPhone 5, and it also comes as part of the latest software update for existing iOS users.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new websites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

How Captain Kangaroo Is Changing Defense Procurement

October 5, 2012
By Rita Boland
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Passion and childhood inspiration are driving the chief information officer of JIEDDO to alter acquisitions through his innovation engine.

Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo in 1970

Jim Craft has been the CIO and deputy director information enterprise management at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) since March, bringing with him a passion for the mission and an energy to start making changes. Through what he dubs the "innovation engine," he is working to enhance rapid acquisitions by facilitating self-forming networks of people across government, industry and academia. You can read the ins and outs of the initiative in my article, "A Different Type of Self-Forming Network."

Craft's drive in this effort is tremendous and has roots in one of his favorite childhood television shows, Captain Kangaroo. From the program, he heard the story of stone soup, a folk tale that takes different forms, all focused on the benefits of cooperation, especially in times of scarce resources. "It made an incredible impact on me," Craft explains. "That's part of what the innovation engine is all about." In his previous roles in government and industry, Craft discovered that when applied, the lesson can create powerful results.